Spawn and myself have never quite connected over the years. Oh sure I liked the toys at one point, designs of the characters, even saw the movie, never could quite connect with the character. I’d seen snippets of Spawn over the years yet I wasn’t compelled to buy the series. Then I heard that Erik Larsen most notably of Savage Dragon fame was going to be working on the series with Spawn creator Todd McFarlane. From what I know Spawn has changed hosts from Al Simmons at one point but now he is back. That’s what I know and I was curious how Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen were going to get new readers in. This is a classic situation of you barely need to know a thing. Al Simmons is Spawn, he’s going to Hell to save his wife from Satan, and that’s all you need. Larsen going off the rails with demon designs in Hell and Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen getting to, in a sense, reestablish the character of Spawn. These three issues cover Spawn entering Hell and the first two parts of the Satan Saga Wars. It is weird to be someone who has no connection to Spawn reading this. Yet here I am reading Spawn for the first time and focusing on the character, story line, and the world that he inhabits. You’re curious to hear what I think and I’m curious to start my adventure into to Hell. Read on as you see my perspective into Spawn #258-260!
What struck me here was the fact that #258 has only minimal writing in it. You get the intro and the ending with updates in between. Now you’re wondering why there would be updates. The entire issue is a massive fight scene of Al Simmons as Spawn fighting off the hordes of Hell. Hey if you’re going to have Erik Larsen start on a comic why not let him cut loose with demons right? The entire issue feels like two old friends getting together and having a blast with tons of action. We’re talking double page spreads, splash pages, and lots of great panel to panel storytelling. There’s a craft to the silent story and when done right it can be awesome. The double page spreads in the issue are gorgeous and your eyes will be staring in awe of all the little details and craziness within. #258 is an example of a mostly wordless story done right. McFarlane and Larsen using the beginning and end of the issue to set up the Satan Saga Wars. It was effective and a lot of fun. Not the easiest way to introduce a comic to a potential new reader but at the same time it gives so much action and excitement that it could get someone wanting more. It’s interesting to see a silent story being a lead in for a major arc and the start of a new artist on a book. Yet it worked, so bravo on that front.
Now for #259 and #260, now we are in the Satan Saga Wars proper. Now this is where the McFarlane and Larsen run starts to kick in. McFarlane throughout the two parts fills you in on everything you need to know about Al Simmons, his death, his time as Spawn, and his relationship with his wife. It feels organic as you read forward in the two parts. You have Satan angry about Spawn in Hell and continuing to throw everything and the kitchen sink to go after him. The best part about this is there is an excellent sense of pacing. It’s a fast paced action adventure movie set in Hell with endless amounts of dark imagination. Remember when I said that this is reestablishing the character of Spawn? This is exactly what McFarlane and Larsen are doing here. I don’t know what happened to the power meter that used to be there, not a big deal though at all. It’s even cooler to see that McFarlane and Larsen encouraged you to check out the older issues if you wanted details on what happened that got us to the point too. Nicely done. If I was reviewing this issue to issue it would be tough as nails, yet the way I’m getting to read it works for me. In reading the first two parts in a row, I like where this is going and McFarlane and Larsen are cutting loose as a team.
I talked a lot about Larsen’s art in the #258 part of this but #259 and #260 are more of the same. It’s a lot of great background work, cool demon designs, and McFarlane is inking over Larsen’s art giving it a slick look and working well with Larsen’s pencils. I do have an appreciation for Larsen’s work from Savage Dragon but his Spawn stuff with this inking is an entirely new experience and I like it. Still Larsen but with a new feel. It doesn’t hurt that the coloring on this is also strong throughout, bright reds, fire, and fury, and FCO Plascenscia knocks it out of the park throughout all the issues. I’m impressed by what I see here, every single page from writing and art begs to be looked at in detail, nothing is skimped here. The writing is exciting and the art matches this renewed level of excitement. Just rocking comic book energy and I can’t help but dig it.
That’s me reading Spawn #258-260 and you know, I want to read more. Never thought in a million years I would want to be a regular Spawn reader but here we are. I’m interested and want to see where Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen take Spawn from here. Heck I even want to give Savage Dragon another go. For me these three issues of Spawn gave me a ton of entertainment and good times, and Spawn worked on that level for me. If you are curious for yourselves, try out Spawn #258-260 for yourself and see what you think. McFarlane and Larsen are having a blast on this comic and it shows. I can’t wait to see what the next two parts of the Satan Saga Wars hold. Two old friends coming together to make a comic the best it can be, I like that.